Intern Residency Program
Each summer, the Will Steger Wilderness Center hosts interns for a 12- week residency at the Center. Interns assist in all aspects of caring for and improving both the land and its structures, including learning how to nourish soil, grow food, construct stone walls, manage forests, install and maintain renewable energy systems, and many other skills. Interns also provide the basis of the community around which all of the Center’s programming is built.
An integral part of the hands-on education offered by the Center, the apprentice program relies on masters in each field providing mentorship for people interested in developing skills leading to self-sufficiency. This past summer, the Master Stone Mason apprentice program led by Will Steger and resident master stone masons took a major step forward with a six-week engagement of youth learning the trade. In addition, leaders and instructors from Summit Academy OIC attended the Center this past year for a two-week onsite building project embedded in their curriculum, with the Will Steger Wilderness Center providing hands-on learning in vital life and trade skills.
Service Learning Program
For the past seven years, the Will Steger Wilderness Center has worked with the Cambridge campus of Anoka-Ramsey Community College on a model program to establish targeted partnerships with post-secondary institutions which offer their students credit for community service as part of their classroom curriculum. Students with limited opportunities participate in hands-on service projects, including clearing brush, construction, solar panel installation, and other projects.
Through this program, students gain experience in working as a team, problem solving, leadership and other skills they acquire in the process of doing the work. The program has been extremely successful, with many students reporting transformative experiences. It will serve as a model for other college and university environment programs seeking hands-on experiential learning components for their classes.